LA JOLLA (CNS) - The UC San Diego School of Medicine announced Thursday that it will be part of an effort to collect DNA samples from 50,000 autism patients aged 3 to 100, in what is being touted as the largest study of the disorder ever undertaken in the U.S.
Karen Pierce, an associate professor of neurosciences at UCSD, and her colleagues will seek 3,000 study participants diagnosed with autism, and their
family members, in the San Diego region and in Phoenix, where she's conducting other autism-related research.
"Autism has a strong genetic component, but there's a lot of heterogeneity in the genes involved,'' said Pierce, a co-director of UCSD's Autism Center of Excellence. ``More than 50 genes have been identified that almost certainly play a role in autism, but there may be 300 or more.''
Sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, based in New York, the study is called SPARK -- for Simons Foundation Powering Autism
Research for Knowledge -- and involves 21 research institutions across the country that are recruiting participants and collecting data.
"One of the major challenges in autism genetics research is sample size,'' Pierce said.
"Individual projects may fail to find genetic abnormalities, not because they aren't there, but because the sample size is just too small,'' she said. "SPARK addresses that by pulling together information and data from not just 50,000 persons with autism, but also family members, such as both parents.''
Pierce said the study will provide researchers with an abundance of material to study and share, so they'll be able to look more effectively for relevant biological mechanisms behind autism, and how genetic and environmental factors interact to result in autism spectrum disorder.
Years ago, children with autism were not identified, helped or treated until they were 5 to 10 years old, or even older, Pierce said. Now, most
clinicians and researchers are aiming for early diagnosis and treatment, which gives patients a significantly better chance of improvement, she said.
The San Diego City Council voted 8-1 Monday to rescind a July ordinance that placed regulations on short-term rental companies like Airbnb that operate in the city.
Join the rescued animals of Lions Tigers & Bears for a wild and ghoulish Halloween-themed campout under the stars.
A homeless man was arrested in connection with the slaying of a retiree two months ago in his Oceanside home, police said Monday.
The November election is closing in, and as usual, there are plenty of propositions on the ballot. News 8 takes a look at each measure, starting with California Props 1-4 on bonds.
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News 8 takes a look at California propositions that you'll be voting on in November and exactly what they mean.
If you want to vote in the Nov. 6 Gubernatorial General Election, you should register by Monday, Oct. 22. If you miss the deadline, you may still conditionally register and vote provisionally through Election Day but you will have to register in person at the Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa.
A Mexican fishing boat caught fire and burned 30 miles south of San Diego, and while 15 people were rescued by a U.S.- flagged vessel, three people remained missing Sunday.
Community members gathered together Sunday in an effort to keep a sexually violent predator out of the East County. Earlier this month, a judge ordered the release of Alvin Ray from a treatment program to a home in Jacumba Hot Springs where he'll be closely supervised as part of a conditional release program.
A cooling trend is expected to last through Tuesday. Morning low clouds will spread from coastal areas to the western valleys. A high pressure system is expected to sweep in Wednesday and bring warmer temperatures through Friday.